Work to upgrade the track and signalling system on the Northern City Line will continue this weekend (Saturday October 2, Sunday October 3) in the latest stage of the East Coast Digital Programme.
For the first time, Great Northern successfully tested one of its trains using a digital in-cab signalling system, demonstrating that the system on-board works in a real operational setting.
The project has seen some major progress throughout the summer and is set to create the first main line digital railway in the UK.
Network Rail and Great Northern are reminding passengers planning to travel this weekend to check their journey.
Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said “Network Rail have worked hard with us to make sure our customers can get where they need to be during this work. Trains that normally run in and out of Moorgate will run to and from King’s Cross instead, with some times changed.”
The current signalling system - a traffic light system which keeps trains a safe distance apart - only allows signallers to communicate with trains at fixed points which means that any unplanned disruption can have knock-on effects across the network.
Fitting trains with the latest in-cab technology and removing the old lineside signals will enable signallers to continuously communicate with trains.
Responding in real time will boost reliability, minimise delays and allow more trains to run in the future. The upgrades will also improve worker safety, as they will be spending less time on track maintaining the railway or repairing equipment.
Critical upgrades to the track and signalling can only be done safely when the section of the line between Finsbury Park and Moorgate is closed so passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected this weekend with Great Northern or via National Rail Enquiries.
Further work is also planned throughout the Christmas period, with the Northern City Line due to be fully digitally signalled by 2023.
Toufic Machnouk, Network Rail’s Director, Industry Partnership Digital, said “we’ve made significant progress on upgrading the signalling over the summer and this weekend our teams are continuing to deliver the East Coast Digital Programme."
The Director continued, "this work will bring more reliable journeys for passengers by next Summer and reduce delays."
He added, "we want to thank passengers for their continued patience whilst this vital work takes place. Trains are being diverted to keep people moving and we advise passengers to check their journey and allow extra time.”